As Gautam walked through the security gate into the confines of the tech park, the only thing that was troubling him was the phone call that he received from his co worker previous night. There was seemingly a bug in his program and it was refusing to run. Gautam could not believe it. He had checked the code previous evening itself. It was working fine then. He had run a series of test cases to ensure that his code was a global one and it would work fine in all situations for all inputs. But somehow the code was not running and that’s why Gautam found himself walking towards the office early on a friday morning.
Did I miss any situation? Arghhh.. I had so hoped that today would turn out to be an easy day. I had such big plans for me and Aarti. She had been constantly complaining that I was only a workaholic. I was so looking forward to surprise her with coming home early and taking her to a movie. It would have been such a great start to this weekend. Aarti would be happy and I would get to spend two days alone with a very happy wife. It’s was essentially a win win situation for both. But .. no.. God has other plans, it seems. I would rather be stuck in the office and return home late on Friday to a very enraged wife who would refuse to even talk to me.
Gautam mentally berated God. As he approached the office building, he took deep breaths to calm down. He took out his identity card from his backpack and attached it to his breast pocket. His forehead was crunched in deep concentration and he was mentally going through every aspect of the code that he had written.
The office was still quite empty. Only a few cubicles were occupied, the occupants busy with some urgent work. Gautam proceeded towards his cubicle.
“Good morning Gautam”.
Gautam turned around knowing at once who was calling him. And there she was standing near her cubicle. It was Akansha, his colleague, and also a girl who would turn heads of almost all boys in the office. As usual she was dressed perfectly in a white chiffon salwar kamiz with a deep v neckline. She smiled in an innocent manner. But Gautam was not fooled. He had come to know Akansha and her feminine wiles. Still like every other member of the male population, he smiled and waved back. There was simply no resisting Akansha. Even their boss was not immune to her charms. Akansha knew the fact and often used it to her advantage. Gautam might be happily married but he was also a man. Casting an occasional look at random times when nobody was looking wouldn’t hurt anybody, would it? That was the principle he followed.
“ So any plans on weekend?” Akansha asked again. She was nothing but persistent.
“ Nothing special. I had just planned to go watch a movie with Aarti. But it seems there might be some problem with the code that I froze yesterday. I don’t know how much time it will take. So I will probably have to postpone my plans.”
“Oh poor boy.. Can I help you somehow?” said Akansha clicking her tongue. Gautam tried to ignore the double innuendo behind her comment and shrugged.
“There is nothing you can do. But thanks anyways. See you later.” Gautam replied without meeting her eyes and hurried off towards his cubicle.
“ May be we can have coffee later” shouted Akansha behind his back. Gautam simply chose to not answer and walked into his cubicle. He heaved a sigh as he pressed the button on his CPU. At once the giant beast started waking up making a noise of protest as if it preferred its state of hibernation. Gautam’s mind wandered back to Akansha. Lately he was seeing a distinct change of behavior in Akansha. It was probably for the fact that the zonal manager of his company had selected him as the team leader of an oncoming project. This project was a first attempt of his company to venture into a new field and they had given the responsibility of building the team to Gautam. Akansha ,on several occasions, had subtly hinted that she would love to be a part of this project. That was probably the reason for her increasingly flirtatious behavior towards Gautam.
As his monitor sprung back to life Gautam hastily shifted his concentration to the terminal. He opened the brower and logged into his yahoo account. Minimizing the browser, he opened the source code and started going through it, pausing at some point to write down some information on the white board attached to the right wall of his cubicle. More than 3 hours passed when he found out what the problem was. It was not his mistake after all. The problem was in the part of the code where his co-worker Kamal had introduced some variables and connected them through a complex logic. The connection was not proper. It was like when a roof is constructed and the workers forget to close a hole that they had opened themselves. Water would simply leak through the hole. Discovering the hole itself was work almost done. Gautam , satisfied with the progress, locked his monitor screen and decided to take a coffee break. It seemed that he would be able to wrap up the whole mess and go home early afterall.
Gautam was standing in the cafeteria sipping through his hot cup of coffee, when he was joined by three of his friends. They were his college mates. They were all recruited in the campus recruitment drive conducted by Hewlett Packard in their college. Since then they have been colleagues as well. They started sharing stories of how their life was turning out to be. A ping alerted Gautam of an incoming mail alert. Taking out his cell phone he browsed through the inbox and began reading the message.
From : SHOP@BEST
Your consignment is out for delivery. This completes your order.
It was difficult to read the whole email in the small resolution of his mobile. But when he did manage to read, he got more and more puzzled. He was sure that he had not ordered anything from that website . Then what delivery are they talking about? In which address? His company had shifted to another location just two months prior. Gautam had also found rental arrangement closer to his new office location. Not many people were aware of either of the address. Gautam began to jot down all names who could possibly send him any gift through this online website. The list was alarmingly small.
Saying bye to his friends, Gautam came back to his cubicle. Opening up the website, he noted their customer care number. He dialled the number and requested to speak with an executive.
“ Good morning sir. I am Sujatha. How may I help you?”
“ I have received a message from your end regarding delivery of a consignment. I am pretty sure that I have not ordered anything myself from your website . Can you please tell me what is the consignment? Where is it getting delivered?”
“ Can you give me the order id sir? It should be there in your message. Also kindly share with me your email id and mobile number.We will contact you shortly.”
“Yes sure. It is 089xxxxxxx. My gmail id is gautamg at yahoo dot com Kindly see. I am getting puzzled every minute wondering who is sending me anything.”
“ I am sure that the gift is from some special one. I am sending you a copy of the order to your mail.”
“Happy to help sir. Have a nice day.”
Gautam opened his yahoo account and waited for any new inbox message. A minute later the message showed up. Opening it, he began to scan the section of the actual order. The address of delivery was his new residence address given accurately. That rules out my parents, Gautam thought, no way on earth did they know my new address accurately. He began to mentally weigh the probabilities of every single of his acquaintances who could have sent him the gift. After a while he stopped when his head began to roll in confusion. A particular line at the bottom of the mail caught his attention
“click here to know the details of the ordered item”
Gautam clicked on the hyperlink and waited for the browser to load up the web page. When the web page loaded he quickly scanned to the section where the item had been catalogued. His eyes grew large when he read the name.
Item Ordered – Kamasutra : The Art of Making Love to a Woman by Pavan K. Varma
Gift message : A gift with love. Hope we make the best use of it !!
Gautam could not believe his eyes. He could not fathom who would gift him a book and that also a book like this. Was this somebody’s idea of a practical joke? If it was then it was definitely not funny. But why and more importantly who would pull such prank on him? At first he thought of his brother. Arun was elder to him by only a year. They have always had a rather normal sibling relationship, always making jokes, pulling legs of each other. Was Arun behind this nuisance? He felt anger towards his brother and an urge to get back to him for this. But soon he remembered how much of a bad patch Arun’s life was at the moment. He was facing a separation with his wife Sheila. They were trying to mend fences for the sake of their daughter but the family was not hopeful of the outcome. Gautam somber ed a bit when he remembered this. A tiny amount of guilt seeped into his mind for getting angry at his brother at a time like this.
Arun was definitely not responsible. He was currently not in such mental state to make such joke. Gautam squelched another ping of guilt and began to narrow down the suspects of this crime by process of elimination. The gift message was quite passionate and full of promises. Was Aarti responsible for this? Gautam was not completely sure about this. Although his wife was not what you would call a computer illiterate, still sending him a gift like this was simply not her character. Regardless he decided to check. Shutting off his monitor he walked out of his cubicle towards the discussion room. He dialled her cell number. After a few rings, the other end was picked up and a sweet voice spoke “Hello” Gautam smiled. It was this sweet nature of hers that always kept Gautam bound to her. She might not be very much outgoing as other women of her peer but she symbolized peace, stability. She was like the welcome shower after months of scorching summer heat.
“Hello honey, what are you doing?” Gautam replied. The other end was quiet for a long time. Gautam had begun to suspect that the call had gotten disconnected when she heard her wife’s sweet voice reply.
“Are you okay? Have you just called me in the middle of important work to know what I am doing?”
Gautam felt bad. Had it really been that long since the last time he had simply called her to chat? He replied seriously “ I am sorry . I will come back as early as possible ..Aarti. That I promise.’ He hoped she understood what those simple words meant.
After another pause he heard her reply “It’s okay. You do your work. We will talk later.bye.”
After ending the call, Gautam sat down on a chair and pondered for few moments. For the last few months he had become so busy with his last assignment that he had been able to spare very few moments with his wife. He would be so tired when he got back home that he did not even have the energy to look into her eyes to see the disappointment written clearly in them. No, I will not let this gap between us be anymore wide than it already is. I will make sure to wipe the hurt and loneliness that she had to bear on my account.
Gautam was shaking his head when he came out of the room. The enigma of this mysterious gift still remained. His current conversation with Aarti had assured him that she would never send her such a passionate gift right now. A ping alerted him of another incoming message. He opened his cell phone and began to read. It was yet another message from SHOP@BEST saying that the order has been dispatched and would be delivered soon. Irritated by the whole fiasco, he began to walk towards his cubicle. On the way he saw Akansha leaving early. As she passed him, she smiled at him and whispered “Hope you have a memorable weekend.” Only after she had walked out that Gautam was struck by her parting words. What if …? He began to panic. Did Akansha really become so desperate that she sent such a gift to his house? O God, what if it was real? How will Aarti react? Gautam had a vision of Aarti beating him with a stick muttering “ You are getting such vile gifts from your colleagues now, is it? Let me show you what infidelity to your own wife entails.” He shivered involuntarily. No he did not want to make Aarti angry. He had faced such situation before. Her sweet wife had hurled all items of an expensive crockery set at him one by one. He had to duck several times to avoid them. He DID not intend to get beaten by his wife or DID not want his wife to leave their house. Who would make food for me or keep my clothes ready or give me a head massage when I sleep? He mentally slapped himself for his immediate thought process but the truth was he simply could not live without her. I will have to take some immediate action if I wish my marriage to survive.
When he was going to dial the customer care number yet again, he found he was getting a call from the similar number. Quickly he picked up the call.
“Sir, my name is Sujatha. You called us earlier about some product that was getting delivered to your address.”
“Yes I remember. I ..”
“We are extremely sorry Sir” continued the voice catching Gautam’s attention and making him stop his intended lecture. “There was some mistake on the part of the person who ordered the gift. The gift was intended for another person by your name who lives in the 3rd floor of your apartment. It seems our customer mistakenly entered 2nd floor instead of 3rd . It also appears that the mail id is also similar to yours which the person wrongly entered…yahoo.co.in instead of yahoo.com…”
“You mean to say that I was harassed even though the gift was not intended for me?”
“We are extremely sorry sir. Like I mentioned we were making the delivery as per instructions entered. It was only due to call made by the customer admitting her mistake that we rescheduled the delivery. Extremely sorry again. Have a nice weekend sir.”
Gautam was perplexed. Huh .. What are the odds of my neighbour having almost an identical mail id as me? How differently things work out, Gautam wondered. How much tensed he had been since the morning, after he had received the first message ! But now that everything was resolved he did not feel angry towards the sales girl. Rather he was happy that even on this excuse he had called Aarti just like that. He had understood just how much work he had to do at home to regain her love and her happiness. He intended to do just that. Gautam hurried towards Kamal’s cubicle. He had to report the bug he had found in his code and fix it within 2 hours. Afterall, he did not want to be late to accompany Aarti and watch the movie Hemlock Society at 7o’clock.